The 2017 Phuket Bike Week started as Songkran proper ended on Friday 14th April. Literally set on Patong Beach, on the west side of the island of Phuket, motorcyclists from all over S.E.Asia came to enjoy a party in the sun. Good live music from a variety of bands, stands with motorcycle clothing and accessories, and Thai food shared with friends old and new, made for an enjoyable long weekend.
Set under the palm trees towards the north end of Patong Beach the Bike Week was centered on a main stage with tables and chairs for food and beer from a multitude of Thai food stands.
Close to the main entrance was our friends Rider’s DNA with a wide selection of jewelery, accessories and their famous custom painted helmets.
Adjacent to the Rider’s DNA stand was the launch of Bike Touring Thailand’s (BTT) new “Happy Cheeks” motorcycle seat pad. Combining British design, Thai ingenuity, and a cheeky sense of humour (sorry!), the seat pad has been developed and manufactured in Thailand. It felt very comfortable and is an easy way to improve long distance rides.
Open from 10am to midnight, the Phuket Bike Week was long and hot but it had something for most kinds of biker. Many people appeared to visit after 4pm and it was truly busy once the sun had gone down. Lots of food stands at both ends of the show area meant plenty of delicious Thai food was available, and two areas for live bands kept everyone entertained. And of course there were lots and lots of bikes. Everything from full custom bikes to Harley-Davidson cruisers to BMW touring bikes to 1000cc road bikes to the Yamaha 150cc, 17″ wheeled under-bone bikes favoured by some brave souls who had ridden from Malaysia.
I asked one group of Malaysian motorcyclists on 150cc bikes how long it had taken to ride to Phuket. “Twenty-nine hours,” they said, “Without sleep.”
It was time to see a few motorcycle shops in Kuala Lumpur, so after an early start I arrived in KL on a hot and humid April day. First visit was to KCM SuperBike (No. 17, Jalan Sri Permaisuri 8, Bandar Sri Permaisuri, 56000 Cheras, KL Tel 03 9173 9435).
From the airport this was easy (here’s the .pdf 2015 Klang Valley Rail Transit Map). Take the No 7 KLIA Transit to Bandar Tasik Selatan (light blue on the map, not the purple No 6 KLIA Express). Change to the No 4 LRT to Sentul Timur (brown on the map. You have to go out of the KLIA station and follow the walkway to the LRT station nearby). For KCM, get out at Salak Selatan station two stops down the line. From there take a taxi or find the opposite (south) entrance to the station. KCM is approx. a five minute walk.
On arrival at KCM, I found a range of new and used motorcycles both for sale and under the spanner. Smaller bikes included 200-400cc Kawasaki, Honda, and KTM’s (love the 390cc KTM’s) and some large capacity bikes including a Kawasaki Versys 1000 and an MV Agusta Brutale 800. In the workshop at the back of the store was a variety of bikes both big and small and a rather damaged sportsbike which appeared to have low-sided on a wet corner. Outside the shop was a range of small bikes for sale.
What’s striking about motorcycle shops in KL is they sell everything from 125cc to 1000cc whereas in Thailand motorcycle shops sell either 100cc-135cc Honda/Yamaha/Suzuki or “big bikes” of 250cc and up.
Venturing upstairs to the clothing and accessories floor there was a collection of generic “Japanese” lightweight mesh jackets, some pants and boots, and an assortment of accessories. I would say more accessories, such as lights and grips to sprockets and fuelling modules, than clothes. Some small projector headlights suitable for a motorcycle caught my eye.
It wasn’t long before the owner’s wife, Sherlyn Yee, asked if she could help. I told her I was scouting KL motorcycle shops since we make motorcycle clothing. Sherlyn described the KL bike market and generously took time to suggest who we should contact in Malaysia should we want a distributor for Assero Gear. You can’t get better customer service.
After leaving KCM Superbike I turned right and walked down the street to where some shops were selling small bikes and accessories. Honda, Yamaha, Vespa, that sort of thing. As I walked by a retro cafe racer styled 125cc caught my eye. Made by KTN. That’s right, KTN not the Austrian manufacturer KTM. Got to love the stickers, “GP125” and the Union Jack. Actually, it’s Made in Malaysia.
It was time to find some more bike shops. I had read there were a few within 2-3km of the LRT station at Sentul. This is on the north side of Kuala Lumpur so to avoid the traffic it’s quickest to take the train.
From KCM turn right out of the shop, proceed to the end of the row of shops approx. 50m. Turn right and walk due north(ish!). You should be able to see Salak Selatan station roof. Pass through the small bus terminal to the station to re-embark on the No 4 line towards Sentual Timur. I got out at Sentual (Bandar Baru Sentul).
It was after arriving at the station that I was lucky. Turned down by one taxi driver, the next was one of those 1 in 100 hundred taxi drivers, the ever helpful Mr Jasbir Singh Gill (019 6629 566). After some gentle enquiries he took me on a tour of the local motorcycle shops. He waited for me while I visited the stores. And he called his son in law to email a list of motorcycle shops in KL. Outstanding.
First, we went to Sunny Cycle (37, Jalan Pahang (Titiwangsa), Setapak 53000, tel 03 4021 1161 / 6611). This was the second bike shop on my list after KCM. It was Saturday afternoon and Sunny Cycle was busy. I entered via the workshop, mainly to see the range of bikes that was being worked on. BMW’s, both sport and touring, Ducati, and Kawasaki were in evidence. Road bikes and race bikes. It looked good.
A door to the left took me inside the shop proper where there was an impressive collection of motorcycle clothing including garments from Held and Clover in Europe. While Held are famous for their leather motorcycle gloves, Clover isn’t well known outside of Italy. From the point of view of a garment designer, I admire their product since they are one of the few companies to design to the European standard for “Personal Protective Equipment for Professional Motorcycle Riders” EN 13595. If you want verifiable top quality, this is the standard to look for.
After meeting the owner and his son at Sunny, I headed back to the workshop to chat to some customers who were waiting while their bikes were serviced. They were an experienced group of motorcyclists.
As I left Sunny Cycle one bike caught my eye. Parked away from the other bikes was an immaculate BMW R1100 S Boxer Cup. I took a few close-up photographs where you can see the exposed boxer cylinder heads and the shaft drive.
But I failed to photograph the whole bike. Darn! Technologically, and as a fine looking bike, it was quite something.
After Sunny Cycles, Jasbir suggested we visit CBK Motorsport. They are Malaysia’s “Kawasaki MX World One Stop Center” housed in a four storey building on the corner of a street junction (No. 373, Batu 2, 3/4 Jalan Ipoh, 51200 Kuala Lumpur). You can’t miss the building; it’s painted Kawasaki green.
Inside the store CBK offer a large range of MX bikes, clothing, and accessories. If you are looking for motocross gear this is the place to come.
CBK also run a competitive motocross team who, judging by the silverware on the walls, appear to be Malaysian national champions more often than not.
After CBK it was a short journey to Jalan Sentul where there is a large number of motorcycle accessory shops. First, I wanted to visit Kedai Motosikal, part of AH Hong Motor.
The observant reader will immediately notice a white No 27 “classic” bike on the pavement. It is another KTN, which I will write about later.
Kedai Motosikal stock a wide range that on my visit included BMW GS adventure bikes, a Honda Fireblade SP, 390cc KTM’s, some Kawasaki’s, and lots of small Honda, Yamaha, and Vespa bikes. If you want to buy one, this is the place to come.
Their workshop was divided into two; a shop unit for servicing small bikes, and a large area in the main shop for servicing big bikes.
Judging by the illustrated service posters on the walls they are a major Yamaha service center. As you can see below, they are a friendly lot.
Before heading back to the taxi I wanted to visit the long row of motorcycle accessory shops that run down Sentul Road after the Police Station. If you can’t find what you need here, its not available in Malaysia.
NHS Sport Bikers, UMA Racing, Racing Boy, and Kedai Motosikal / MotoZone were just the beginning as the motorcycle shops stretched over a couple of blocks. It was here that you can find every manner of spare parts for old and new bikes as well as some bikes themselves.
There was plenty going on. Engine-out repairs, clutch replacements, new fairings, it was all being done on the street.
The range of parts was impressive. This photo of new carburetors was just part of a much larger display. I’m not sure if RM280 is good value for a Honda Wave 125 carb but it might be quite handy to know that you can buy new carbs here if you have a pre-fuel injection bike.
I dodged in and out of a few shops to see what they had. There wasn’t much in the way of clothing though one shop had a good range of helmets (Shark, HJC, etc). Cheap rear shocks, HID light systems, tyres, and all manner of hardware predominated.
The last bike in the last bike shop I saw was this Petronas racebike. Was it one of seventy-five legendary FP1 three cylinder 899cc bikes destined to obscurity after the FIM rule change to 1000cc in 2003? Or was it a Yamaha R1 in drag? Next time I go back, I’ll have to investigate. It seemed like a fitting end to a day full of motorbikes both small and large.
My thanks to Mr Jasbir Gill for getting me to more motorcycle shops in one day than I thought possible.
Mr Jasbir Singh Gill (019 6629 566). Taxi service, day booking, city tour, airport booking. Highly recommended.